May 9, 2017

7 Keys to Leading an Entire Children's Ministry

Many times someone who is leading one area of children's ministry is asked to step up and lead the entire children's ministry.  This is how I raised up children's ministry directors in a multi-site church.  When someone was leading either nursery, preschool or elementary well, I moved them into the director role at a new campus we were starting.

Perhaps you are currently leading a specific area of children's ministry, but feel God will eventually have you lead the entire children's ministry, either where you are now or in another ministry.  Or perhaps you've just been asked to lead an entire children's ministry.  Or perhaps you've been leading an entire children's ministry for awhile but need a reminder of what it takes to be effective.

In many aspects, leading an entire children's ministry is different than leading a specific area.  It takes a different level of leadership skills.  Let take a look at 7 keys to effectively leading an entire children's ministry.   

Key #1 - Shift from focusing on one area to focusing on the big picture.  You must shift your focus to the 30,000 foot view.  Someone has to fly high and have an eye on the big picture.  That's your job as the leader of the entire ministry.  If you are always down in the trenches, you won't be able to see down the road.  Whereas you were operating as a specialist, you must now operate as a generalist.

Key #2 - Know how to make good decisions based on what is best for the ministry as a whole.  You will be the key decision maker for the ministry.  But don't go at it alone.  Ask for advice.  Gather people around you that can help you make wise decisions.  Remember, in the multitude of counselors there is safety.  In the end, you will be the one who makes the final decision, but by listening to the right people you can make the best decision.  

Key #3 - Move from primarily being a doer to being an equipper.  In your previous role, you were an equipper to some extent or you won't have been asked to take a lead role.  But as the leader of the entire ministry, you must take your equipping to the next level.  You will need to spend the majority of your time investing in key leaders and live by what I call the law of the few.  Your goal is to reproduce yourself.  This is done by mentoring and pouring into the people who lead the specific areas of the ministry.

Key #4 - Become a problem fixer and conflict solver.  As the leader of the entire ministry, guess where problems and conflicts will land...on your desk.  You must become known as someone who can fix problems.  There will also be times when people on your team will have conflict.  You will be the one who mediates this using Biblical guidelines.  Read and learn all you can about navigating conflict.  Your people skills is one of the main growth areas you should concentrate on.

Key #5 - Know how to cast vision for the entire ministry.  You will guide the ministry forward, casting vision for where God wants the ministry to go.  This is one of the most important things you will do as the leader.  

Key #6 - Become a collaborator with the rest of the church.  Become a bridge to the other ministries in the church.  How can you partner with the men's ministry?  How can you partner with the women's ministry?  How can you collaborate with the student ministry to ensure a complete discipleship pathway from preschool to high school?  Plan the children's ministry calendar in collaboration with the other ministries.  You must constantly be thinking how you can see the children's ministry benefit the church as a whole.

Key #7 - Become good at communicating.  Communicating the vision.  Communicating the core values.  Communicating expectations.  Communicating upcoming events and happenings.  Communicating information to key leaders.  Communicating change so that it doesn't catch people by surprise but rather is a process.

If God has called you to lead the entire ministry, then He will give you everything you need to be effective as you seek Him.  Where He guides, He provides.  Walk in this confidence and focus on growing yourself in the above areas.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some other keys to leading an entire children's ministry?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.                   


I love your ideas here but the 30K view is sometimes tough when you haven't had time to invest in the people to help run the show. How does one get up to 30K three months in and the ministry is filled with holes every where you look?

I agree Tony. It is hard to see the big picture when you feel like you spend most of your time just staying afloat. I am a "doer" and tend to get bogged down in just making it happen. I have to purposely work hard at delegating and holding others accountable. It doesn't come natural but I've found that when I trust others and give them responsibility there is a greater sense of team satisfaction in the end. I also find I'm not completely spent and bitter about having to do everything.
My recommendation would be to really focus on casting vision to your volunteers and church leadership. Do it with passion and lift up your volunteers as a vital part of that vision. Then pour your energy into making those few helpers feel as though they are the key to making the vision come to life - because they really are. Meet with them individually on a monthly basis, pray with them and feed them supportive scripture. Show appreciation through small but meaningful gestures. Get to know them on a personal level and demonstrate how much you care about them. Once they realize they are a part of something special and are genuinely appreciated (not used and burnt out) they will almost do your recruiting for you. They will begin to tell others about how great it is to be a part of the children's ministry and they will ask others to come and help out.
Also, make sure they are equipped to not only function in their role but excel at what they do. Their confidence will grow and you will have cultivated a passionate community of leaders who will one day be poised to fulfill a more significant leadership role within the church. In addition to raising up kids to be future leaders of the church we should be helping our current leaders achieve greatness for Christ! I hope this gives you a boost in the right direction and I'll be praying for you and your ministry!

I love the Lord and I love children. Presently I am the leader of a children's ministry but everything is left for me to do. I do not get any physical support from my church and sometimes I feel like giving up. what should i do?

Hi. Thanks for sharing. What you described can make it difficult for sure. The answer is getting other people involved in serving with you. Check out the book - The Formula for Building Volunteer Teams at this link. I believe it would be a big help. And don't give up. You are not alone. Prayers coming your way.

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